DENISE Hodgkinson, a city councillor, former journalist and editor of the City Times, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in recognistion of her work for the city of St Asaph and its people.
Denise, aged 74, said: “It came as a shock. I got a letter from the cabinet office saying my name was made aware to the Queen.
“We’ve been invited to the Royal Garden Party and there will be a ceremony held locally where the medal will be presented.
“The award was really meant for the City Times group, I think it’s the core reason for it.”
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Austin Savage, from St Asaph, nominated Denise for the New Year’s Honours award for the effort she puts into the City Times, a free community newspaper, and the amount of service she gives the city.
Denise and the team are starting their 20th year on the newspaper in 2014.
Her husband Ken Hodgkinson, president of the St Asaph Cricket Club, said: “Denise spends about two weeks working every day on the City Times; there is a lof of work that goes into it.
“It is completely free as the adverts pay for the printing costs just about.”
After the floods devasted St Asaph last year the City Times did an extra edition by request of Natural Resources Wales and the county council to keep residents informed.
Denise said: “This award is for the team of City Times, all the people involved and who deliver it for us, some people have been doing it for 20 years.
“People know I write it but they do not see what happens beneath that.”
The City Times is published every three months with 2,500 printed for St Asaph, Rhuallt, Tremeirchion, Waen and Cefn.
10 volunteers help deliver the free magazine to every house in the city and surrounding villages.
Denise said: “Some people post the City Times out to family and friends.
“And we put it on the internet now as well.
“We were a little late putting it on the internet last time and we had a message from someone who moved to Australia saying the whole of Australia was waiting for it.”
Denise also helps to welcome visitors to the St Asaph Cathedral during the summer.
Denise said: “It is lovely to do, I meet so many nice folk.
“It’s amazing where people come from and the cathedral even has translations for visitors.”
Denise, along with Councillor Andrew Thomas, started the St Asaph Archives based in the library.
She explained: “A few years ago someone passed away and there were things were being thrown away but that was our history, so we started a St Asaph Archive.
“Then the library was flooded last year but thankfully we backed everything up.
“If we hadn’t we would have lost the whole lot.”
Denise has been attending St Asaph’s council meetings since 1955 when she first started working as a reporter on The Rhyl Journal.
Denise then became a councillor for the city in 1994 becoming mayor in 1999 and again in 2002.
It has been a turbulent few years for the city but, in March 2012, St Asaph was triumphant when it officially became a city.
Denise was the author of the bid which won the city its new status.
Denise added: “It took quite a bit of effort and Andrew researched everything he was brilliant with it.
“Andrew and I tend to team up and do things together for the area.”
Denise has been a flood warden for three years and Ken is the chairmain of the residents flood warden group.
The group helps Natural Resources Wales with jobs to help prevent another flood.
Austin Savage, a deputy lord lieutenant who nominated Denise, said: “I put her name forward for all her hard work with the City Times, she is the editor and types up everything, she is responsible really for the success of it.
“Denise is also involved in all sorts of things in the city with Andrew Thomas in particular, who both made a successful bid for city status.”
See full story in the Free Press